10 great Ashes facts for the pub tonight

Sometimes here at Being Smarter, we do take a break and today is one of those days – one eye on the cricket score – one eye on the laptop. To celebrate the start of the 2nd test at the home of cricket, we thought we’d assemble some facts for the pub tonight…

Did you know…

1) In the 4th Test in Sydney in the 1882/83 Ashes series, the captains agreed to play on separate pitches. This was the only occasion this has happened in the history in the Ashes. Australia won this match by 4 wickets.

2) Ian Johnson, Australian captain tried to get the umpires to suspend play because of the sawdust on the damp pitch which blew into his eyes while he batted (bless)? Jim Laker went on to pulverise the Australians by getting 19-90.

3) The 3rd test in 1970/71 was completely washed out by the British summer however the toss was completed and won by England and so the Test was deemed to have commenced…

4) Sir Don Bradman’s batting average in Ashes tests was 89.79… not bad huh? Sir Don scored 5028 runs with 12 fifties and 19 hundreds with a highest score of 334.

5) England have not won an Ashes Test at Lords since 1934.

6) The teams have played 64 Ashes series. Australia have won 31, England 28 and five have been drawn. Overall in 317 tests, Australia have won 131, England 97 and 89 have been drawn.

7) The words on the original Ashes cup reads as follows :

When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;
Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;
The welkin will ring loud,
The great crowd will feel proud,
Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;
And the rest coming home with the urn.

Short of words in 1882 me thinks.

8 The highest innings score by Australia in an Ashes series is 729 for 6 declared at Lords in 1930, while their second best test innings total against England is 701 at the Oval.

9) For England, Sir Leonard Hutton’s 364 helped them reach 903 for 7 declared (the 2nd highest Innings score by any country) at the Oval, and the test victory by an innings and 578 runs – the biggest test win margin for any country against anyone.

10) Shane Warne, is the highest wicket taker in an Ashes series. Warne has 172 wickets from 31 Ashes matches at an average of 22.30.

Why not add one below?

Business letter samples – the place to go!

Business in a Box is still one of the best places to go for the best business letter samples and legal documents. If you’ve not heard of it, take a look at some of the dozens of documents that they offer – you can download the application and view all of the document for free.

They have put in some really clever protection software – as despite the fact that their application integrates beautifully into Word, they’ve disabled the copy / paste / drag functionality – so you have to buy the app to actually use any of the words.

(I wouldn’t recommend rekeying them either!)

Check out what they have to offer here…

Twenga – price comparison for Europe

(European readers only)

I suspect you may already have a favourite price comparison site, however it’s not good to rest on your laurels – there are new sites coming online all the time and this one is definitely worth a look.

As well as looking for the best deals in UK stores, you can now compare thousands of product prices from retailers in Europe as well as the UK.

By spreading the net wider and converting foreign prices automatically, the site greatly increases the chances of finding a bargain for your business.

You can check it out here.

Get the latest business bargains from Amazon

If you’re in the UK, it would be worth persuading your webteam to install this widget on your intranet, to help staff within the company spot the latest bargains, as the latest feeds get pulled through automatically from Amazon’s current stock clearance.

Test your communications

Have you ever tried running your latest piece of copy, technical or otherwise past a bright 13 year old. If they don’t understand it, your customers won’t.

Task manager software – Remember the milk

OK, before you shout – but I’ve got Outlook, why would I even consider another piece of task manager software, my answer is simple… work and home lives are interchangeable these days, Outlook and Exchange server are for work lives only.

How often do you find that you need to add ‘home’ tasks to your list when you are at work and vice versa? Outlook is normally not accessible just when you need it.

In addition, can your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/cousin/son/daughter add tasks to your todo list in Outlook? Not easily…

Remember the Milk is a fast-growing web 2.0 application which according to them is “The best way to manage your tasks online”.


You can have multiple types of list, representing the main things going on in your life and in addition, each task can then be tagged to show you a tag cloud of what’s facing you.

The AJAX style interface is simple and intuitive to use and it follows you everywhere there is an internet connected PC.

Adding tasks is so simple… the application intelligently figures things out – ie “must call the doctors next tuesday” will translate to must call the doctors, and the correct date assigned automatically…

When you’re not in the office (or someone else would like to assign you a task remotely) then simply email the task to a predefined address and it will then appear within your task lists ready for action.

There are so many other pieces of functionality to mention it would take too long, and so the best thing to do is to go here, register and have a go.

I have been and still am an avid Outlook user, but for task manager software, I’ve been using RTM for a couple of months now, and haven’t looked back…

Search trends – how to get ahead of the curve

Always want to stay ahead of the curve within your business or one you’re thinking of setting up? There’s a handful of really cool new tools starting to come of age you should definitely take a look at which will help you figure out who’s searching for what – search trends:

1) Google Trends has been around for a while (although still in beta of course)! and will give you a rough indication of one keyphrase’s search term popularity vs another as well as showing you today’s hot tends.

2) Edopter is a ‘social trendcasting’ website which provides you with a whole host of the latest up and coming themes across many different segments.

The really cool thing about it is that you can actually start a trend yourself… How about Being Smarter?

3) Alexa is the definitive web resource on the top search trends around the planet. It’s fascinating to look at the movers and shakers too – the link’s buried away a bit – but you’ll find it here.

Wifi hotspot locator

If you don’t currently have mobile broadband access and you are out the office a lot, with a need for data, I suspect you spend a good deal of time working from coffee bars and taking advantage of their wifi access, free or otherwise.

Before you head out next time, it’s worth checking out Trustive – an excellent resource which has over 30000 hotspots plotted across 75 countries on a Google Map. Very cool.

They do a pretty good deal on wifi credits too which is definitely woth investigating.

They have also just released a dedicated site for iPhone users too to find wifi hotspots if you don’t have 3G coverage.

Guaranteed SEO rankings?

SEO has received a bad press recently because of the number of companies that have guaranteed rankings to their customers when it clearly is an almost impossible thing to guarantee.

Many gullible small business owners and would-be Web entrepreneurs have been sucked in by these false claims and it hurts all of us. Because of that, many reputable SEO companies stay away from “guarantees” because they don’t want to be lumped in with those bad guys.

Rand Fishkin, has published an interesting post in which he shares some of the claims that some SEO companies have made:

Our search engine optimization software comes with the latest link popularity and web site optimization tools for helping you achieve guaranteed ranking.

The phrase guaranteed ranking is quite astounding really when there are so many variables which make up search engine marketing. The one certaintly is change and that there are no guarantees.

Ranking in itself can be open to interpretation in a big way. Nail down your provider to clarify such statements if they offer such a service. Page 1 ranking could mean many things too – I have my preferences set to 100 on page 1 of Google! That’s less hard to achieve. Top 10 listings is harder.

People are guaranteeing to optimise sites for 100 different phrases. That’s quite a niche… how to confuse a web crawler instantly. Remember, the search engines are looking for relevance – you can’t make a page relevant with 100 keyphrases on it!

Google themselves say that no one can guarantee a #1 ranking, yet still people claim to be able to do this.

The other point I wanted to pick up on that Rand makes is that even if you are #1 on Google, that in itself doesn’t guarantee you anything. If traffic for that keyphrase is minimal, you will receive little traffic, if your page doesn’t convert well – you will recieve no sales!

Read and enjoy.